February 2012

Clearcut Sound Studios announced today that it has become majority employee owned. The company, whose recent work includes high profile campaigns for Diet Coke, Volkswagen and Radio 4, has confirmed that 80% of its shares are now owned by its staff.

The studio’s move exemplifies the groundswell of interest in employee ownership now spreading across the private sector. Employee owned companies like retail giant John Lewis and engineering consultancy Arup have been lauded for outperforming competitors over the course of the economic downturn, and last month Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called for the creation of a “John Lewis economy” characterised by widespread employee share ownership.
The studio has been advised throughout the transition process by employee ownership experts the Baxendale Ownership, who were first brought in by the founders in November to run a collaborative assessment of the opportunities presented by an employee owned model. Over the following months, the Baxendale Ownership supported the company in structuring the transfer deal so as to meet the founders’ and employees’ shared aspirations for the business.

According to a recent study into employee ownership by CASS Business School, employee owned businesses create jobs faster, and are in certain circumstances more likely to survive difficult economic conditions than others. The study also found that absenteeism and staff turnover tend to be lower in employee owned businesses, whilst job satisfaction tends to be stronger, and wages tend to be higher. A HMRC study conducted in 2008 found that a majority of businesses with employee share schemes reported improved organisational performance as a result.

Christopher Wrigglesworth, Managing Director of Clearcut Sound Studios, said:  “Our move to a model where every employee owns a stake in the business will harness our team’s energy and commitment, and help us continue to grow whilst doing exciting, high profile work.

“The Baxendale Ownership has been instrumental in driving this process forward. Their experience and expertise in employee owned business has ensured this transition serves the long-term interests of the studio, whilst fulfilling our founders’ and employees’ shared vision for the future success of the company”.

Jacqui Mitchell, from Baxendale Ownership, who project managed the transition said: “When employees have an owning stake in their companies and a say in how they are run, they are naturally more invested in their work. That’s why employee owned companies show greater productivity, lower staff turnover, and greater resilience in tough economic times. The model works equally well for small and medium sized businesses, and Clearcut serves as a pertinent case in point.  It’s no surprise that an increasing number of companies across a growing range of sectors are waking up to the tangible benefits of substantive employee ownership”.

For more information, please contact Dan Dolan on 07771 374 925 or email daniel.dolan@withpr.co.uk.

Baxendale Ownership host free seminars on a regular basis for anyone wishing to find out more about this model. See http://www.baxipartnership.co.uk/courses-and-seminars/introductory-seminars-on-employee-ownership/

Clansman Dynamics, a robotic handling equipment maker, is set to announce plans for further expansion after reporting soaring turnover since becoming employee-owned two years ago. The East Kilbride-based firm said annual turnover had risen by more than 60% since December 2009 to reach £11m, with profits rising in a similar fashion.

Peter Stocks, Chief Executive of Baxendale Ownership, commented that “having worked closely with Clansman Dynamics during their successful transition to employee ownership, we’re delighted to see this ambitious growth, despite challenging conditions in the manufacturing sector, and UK economy as a whole. This goes to demonstrate the resilience employee owned organisations can create when workers are given a meaningful stake in the business they work for.”

Clansman Dynamics was founded in 1994 and became employee-owned in late 2009, realising a long-term ambition by Chairman Dick Philbrick to ensure the company had a sustainable and long term future under employee-ownership and in Scotland.

Co-operative Development Scotland and Baxendale Ownership collaboratively supported the subsequent transition, with Baxendale Ownership’s providing specialist expertise to capture the employee’s transition journey, design and implement the business new structures and provide financing solutions to make the transition a reality. This successful process was underpinned by buy-in from employees at all levels of the organisation.

Chairman Dick Philbrick said: “The business has really blossomed, and the employees have taken the company well beyond the growth ambitions forecast when we completed the deal. “Productivity, profitability and innovation have all flourished, but importantly, the employees have prospered and that is the key reason for the success of the business. “Employee ownership can be the defining factor in driving growth and securing the future of a company that is facing a succession issue.”

Baxendale Ownership will be hosting a free seminar, on the 10th May in London sharing insights about driving success from employee owned business models similar to Clansman Dynamics.

For information about this story, or to book your place at this forthcoming seminar, please contact olivia.schelts@baxipartnership.co.uk or call 0207 960 6876.

Thursday June 21, 2012 – Thursday June 21, 2012

Holiday Inn, Coventry Road,

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Our Employee Ownership Champions course offers a hands-on workshops to help promote an effective culture of employee ownership within your organisation – increasing understanding of the roles and responsibilities of employee owners, and ensuring enhanced motivation drives overall performance.

The expertise on offer can help create active champions for employee ownership at every level in your organisation.

Employee Ownership Champions will enable individuals to:
• Understand their rights and responsibilities as employee owners
• Communicate and participate effectively
• Make best use their employee voice
• Collaborate and offer peer support and challenge
• Evaluate company strategy and performance
• Gain insight into other employee owned cultures

The programme is suited to employee owners anywhere within your organisation, though it can be particularly beneficial for individuals in key positions of influence, such as employee representatives.

We are holding an Employee Ownership Champions course at Holiday Inn, Coventry Road, Birmingham, B26 3QW on 21 June.

The course is £199 for non-residential, £299 for residential. Lunch and refreshments during both days are included in the price.

Download our Employee Ownership Champions flyer.


David Erdal, a pioneer of the employee-owned business movement and author of Beyond the Corporation: Humanity Working makes the case for employee ownership in a three-part interview series with Social Enterprise Live. Watch the first part here:

David Erdal interview. Part 1 from Social Enterprise Live on Vimeo.